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The Village Pond

Our village pond is what remains of the village smithy and the smithy pond. It is known from old maps and pictures that the smithy was still in situ as late as 1885 (The History of Radley by Radley History Club 2002)

This painting (courtesy of Radley History Club) shows pieces of a cart under construction. The smithy would attach iron surrounds to the wooden wheels while hot and then put the assembly into the pond to cool the iron and tighten it round the wood.

Over the years the village pond area became overgrown with brambles and weeds with overhanging trees taking the light away from the pond.  In 2018 Radley Parish Council Pond Committee agreed to a working group led by one of the parents from Radley Primary School. 

With the help of parents and children from Radley Primary along with boys and staff from Radley College we have cleared the tangled floor of ivy and brambles on the ground, laid down chippings (sourced from our local tree surgeons in Radley and Kennington) and cut back the overhanging branches.  Radley Brownies also gained some gardening experience helping to scatter wildflower seeds.

Children from Radley Primary are now able to use this area as an outdoor classroom to expand their knowledge of nature and the environment – they have already discovered scorpion water boatmen, common newts and cheese snails in the pond! 

We have a pontoon for pond dipping – designed and built by a Radley College boy as part of their A Level project – sadly installation currently delayed due to Covid.

The aim is to keep our village pond as close to nature as we can without too much human intervention and have a working group of boys from Radley College keeping up with the general maintenance whilst expanding their studies. 

The village pond is there for the whole community to enjoy.

Photograph c 1950 courtesy of Radley History Club


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